Sir Henry Clinton

 

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Sir Henry ClintonClinton, SIR HENRY, military officer; born in 1738; was a son of George Clinton, colonial governor of New York. He entered the army when quite young, and had risen to the rank of major-general in 1775, when he was sent to America with Howe and Burgoyne. He participated in the battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775, and was thereafter active in service against the oppressed colonists until June, 1782, when he returned to England. He succeeded General Howe as commander-in-chief of the British forces in America in January, 1778.

In October, 1777, Sir Henry undertook a diversion in favor of General Burgoyne, then making his way towards Albany from Canada, in accordance with the British plan of conquest. Clinton, with a strong land and naval force, had captured Forts Clinton and Montgomery, in the Hudson Highlands (October 6), and sent forces of both arms of the service up the river on a marauding excursion, hoping to draw Gates from Burgoyne's front to protect the country below. On the day after the capture of the forts Sir Henry wrote on a piece of tissue-paper the following dispatch to Burgoyne: " Nous y voici [here we are], and nothing between us and Gates. I sincerely hope this little success of ours may facilitate your operations. In answer to your letter of the 28th September by C. C., I shall only say I cannot presume to order, or even advise, for reasons obvious. I heartily wish you success. Faithfully yours, H. CLINTON."

Silver BulletThis dispatch was enclosed in an elliptical silver bullet, made so as to separate at the centre, and of a size (as delineated in the engraving) small enough to be swallowed by a man, if necessary. He entrusted it to a messenger who made his way north on the west side of the river, and, being suspected when in the camp of George Clinton back of New Windsor, was arrested. When brought before General Clinton, he was seen to cast something into his mouth. An emetic was administered to him, which brought the silver bullet from his stomach. The dispatch was found in it, and the prisoner was executed as a spy at Hurley, a few miles from Kingston, while that village was in flames lighted by the British marauders. Sir HENRY died in Gibraltar, Spain, December 23, 1795.

 

 

 

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